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03.30.20 Special Education Letter

posted Mar 30, 2020, 7:37 PM by Grant Harris

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Please see the attached important letter from the Director of Special Education, Ms. Patty Wegmann.

Thank you.

Richard Safier

School Closure Update 03.26.20

posted Mar 26, 2020, 8:48 PM by Grant Harris

Dear Parents/Guardians,

As you probably have heard, the Governor has extended school closure until May 4. After two weeks, we are also at a point where we are prepared to assess how we will move forward with remote learning. This afternoon, the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) published a set of recommendations for remote learning during this COVID-19 school closure. This is something school districts, including Gloucester, have been waiting for. These recommendations are important, as they were the result of conversations at the state level with the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. What we also received today were recommendations from the state as to how we should be moving forward with Special Education services.

The next step toward developing a plan for remote learning during school closure is to establish a Memorandum of Understanding with the Gloucester Teachers Association. We are scheduling those discussions for as soon as possible.

Once this work is completed, and a Memorandum of Understanding established, we will provide you with a clear sense of the remote learning model that we will proceed with. I will end this notice with a quote from the Commissioner:

Remote learning cannot replace students’ experiences in school communities with their teachers, administrators, and support staff.  All of the students and educators with whom I have spoken this week sorely miss learning in person as part of a community. That said, we must all pull together – parents and caregivers, students, the community, and of course, our educators and staff – to help students continue their learning over this extended period.

Richard Safier, Superintendent

YMCA After School Closures 03.17.20

posted Mar 17, 2020, 9:56 AM by Grant Harris

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We have just learned that effective March 16, 2020, the YMCA of the North Shore will not be operating its after-school programs at the following locations due to the closure of the Massachusetts Public School’s regarding the COVID-19 virus concerns.

Plum Cove School, Beeman School, Veteran’s School, East Gloucester School, and West Parish School.

They expect that the programs will be back up and running effectively on the first day of the return to school.

Richard Safier, Superintendent

03.17.20 Announcement Change of Location for Lunches

posted Mar 17, 2020, 8:08 AM by Grant Harris

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, March 17, we will be changing locations for the distribution of lunches
from O’Maley to Beeman and Veterans’. Lunch is still available to ALL students in need. Lunch also
remains available to ALL students whose home school districts are closed.
In addition, we are discussing adding other locations through the Open Door. Stay tuned.

Queridos padres/tutores,

A partir de mañana, miércoles 17 de marzo, cambiaremos el lugar de distribución de los almuerzos de
O'Maley a Beeman y Veteranos. El almuerzo sigue disponible para TODOS los estudiantes que lo
necesiten. El almuerzo también está disponible para TODOS los estudiantes cuyos distritos escolares
estén cerrados.
Además, estamos discutiendo agregar otros lugares a través de la Puerta Abierta. Manténgase en

Caros Pais/Guardiões,

A partir de amanhã, quarta-feira, 17 de março, estaremos mudando os locais de distribuição dos almoços
de O'Maley para Beeman and Veterans'. O almoço ainda está disponível para TODOS os alunos
necessitados. O almoço também continua disponível para TODOS os alunos cujos distritos escolares de
origem estão fechados.
Além disso, estamos discutindo a adição de outros locais através da Porta Aberta. Fique atento.

Cari Genitori/Tutori,

A partire da domani, mercoledì 17 marzo, cambieremo i luoghi per la distribuzione dei pranzi da O'Maley
a Beeman e Veterans'. Il pranzo è ancora disponibile per TUTTI gli studenti che ne hanno bisogno. Il
pranzo rimane disponibile anche per TUTTI gli studenti i cui distretti scolastici domestici sono chiusi.
Inoltre, stiamo discutendo di aggiungere altre sedi attraverso la Porta Aperta. Restate sintonizzati.

Special Edu. Advisory from the Director of Sped.

posted Mar 16, 2020, 11:26 AM by Grant Harris   [ updated Mar 16, 2020, 11:43 AM ]

Dear Parent/Guardian/Caregiver,

As you are aware, Gloucester Public Schools has closed schools through April 6, 2020, in response to concerns given the unprecedented situation created by the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).  

These are extraordinary times and the information and guidance from local, state and federal authorities has resulted in decisions and actions that need to be nimble to adapt to the quickly changing environment.  Please see the guidelines issued by the Office of Special Education Programming:  OSEP Guidance issued March 2020.  At this time, the following district guidelines are in effect:

During this Distance Learning period of time, Special Education Staff will be working with general education teachers to support learning in a variety of ways.  Through the use of technologies such as google classroom, google hangouts, etc. GPS is providing opportunities to engage in enrichment activities to maintain continuity of learning.  Special Education Staff will be working to modify, scaffold, provide supplemental tools, and differentiate activities for students so they are able to access learning.  

New Referrals/Initial Eligibility:

Gloucester Public Schools, along with other schools in the commonwealth, will freeze evaluation, referral, and plan distribution timelines for all students in a referral cycle during school closure.  This means that as soon as schools open again, the timelines will commence as is required by state and federal regulations.

Annual Reviews/Evaluations in Process:

Gloucester Public Schools, along with other schools in the commonwealth, will freeze evaluation, referral, annual review, and plan distribution timelines for all students on IEPs during school closure.  This means that as soon as schools open again, the timelines will commence as is required by state and federal regulations.  Additionally, at that time we will be working with families to understand the impact of the closure on students.

Home/Hospital Tutoring:

Home and Hospital Tutoring occurs outside of the school buildings.  As a practice, Gloucester Public Schools does not provide tutoring when school is not in session.  For students currently on approved home or hospital tutoring, the appropriate Special Education Program Leader will contact the family once we are back in session to re-establish tutoring.

OOD/Residential Placements:

For students in Out-of-District day or residential placements, Gloucester Public Schools will follow the attendance recommendations of the individual school or facility.  At this time, our transportation companies have indicated they will continue to transport students to out of district schools that remain open.  As you may know, many of the OOD schools, are closed along with most all public schools.

365 Day Residential Placements:

For students in 365-day residential placements, Gloucester Public Schools will follow the attendance recommendations of the individual school or facility.


If your child is in crisis, whereas they are a threat to themselves or others, you should call 911.  You may also call Lahey Behavioral Health Services, Psychiatric Crisis Team, at 978-744-1585 or 866-523-1216.

We are in constant communication with our liaisons at both the state and federal level, and will communicate any updates as a district and department in a timely manner.

Take care and be well,

Patty Wegmann

Director of Special Education

03.16.20 Three-Week Closure

posted Mar 16, 2020, 8:17 AM by Grant Harris

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Given the evolving data regarding cases of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of children and school staff, the Governor has ordered a 3-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth (not including residential and day schools for special needs students), beginning Tuesday, March 17 and continuing until Monday, April 6. This increases Gloucester’s school closing from two weeks to three weeks.

To provide some direction during this time frame, principals and teachers are busy developing materials for your children to work on in order to have opportunities for learning during the school closure. These materials are suggestions and recommendations and will be shared by school principals by this Wednesday 3/18. Students are welcome to turn in materials for review and feedback from their teachers. But, grading has been suspended during school closing and once school reopens, extensive opportunities will be available to complete required work. Our goal is to keep the continuity of learning as best as possible.

With school closed, and field trips and after school events canceled, it remains imperative that we all practice the recommended hygiene and social distancing. In order for communities to lower the rate of transmission, it is essential that we strictly follow social distancing guidelines by avoiding crowds, canceling social gatherings, and maintaining a safe separation of at least 6 feet from others. Restricting access to school buildings will have little impact on public health if these best practices are not followed in good faith.

More notices of a specific nature will be forthcoming. For now, thank you and be well.

Richard Safier, Superintendent

Important Information - Activities, Lunch 03.13.20

posted Mar 13, 2020, 11:41 AM by Grant Harris

Dear Parents/Guardians, and Staff,

Please see the important information regarding field trips, events, and lunch below:

Field Trips and Events

Due to the concerns for the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, all field trips, out-of-state and in-state) and all school events are canceled through and including May 3. The status of the rest of the school year will come under review prior to May 3. Any future decisions, of course, will be based on the extent to which the COVID-19 virus is affecting the community



Beginning Monday, March 16, the Gloucester schools will provide lunch for ALL students who are in need of a meal.  

  • Meals will be available between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm Monday through Friday
  • Meals will be located at the O’Maley Innovation Middle School
  • This will be a “grab and go” operation. In other words, bag lunches will be handed out with the expectation that lunch will be eaten at home or off-site;
  • Meals will be given out at the side door next to the cafeteria; look for the sign.
  • Families can drive by and they will receive lunch, or individuals can walk up to the door and receive a meal
  • Meals will consist of a sandwich, a fruit, a vegetable, and milk
Richard Safier, Superintendent

School Closure 03.13.20

posted Mar 13, 2020, 10:57 AM by Grant Harris

Dear Parents/Guardians, and Staff

After thorough and careful consideration of the information presented during this morning’s conference call with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Commissioner of Education regarding the serious nature and rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus in Massachusetts, and in conjunction with the Mayor and the Gloucester Health Dept., the Gloucester Public Schools has made the difficult but prudent decision to close down our buildings beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 for a minimum period of two weeks and will not reopen at the earliest until Monday, March 30, 2020.  In addition, no activities will be allowed at the school during the closure and employees who are able to do so will be working from home. The situation will be reviewed periodically during this timeframe to determine if the length of closure will need to be extended any further and you will be updated as appropriate. We realize this decision has a significant impact for our community and understand the frustration and uncertainty that is created. However, we believe these steps are necessary given the current situation. As a result of this emergency closure, the last day of school this year will now be Tuesday, June 23, 2020.  This new date is based on the updated guidelines issued earlier this week by the Commissioner of Education requiring school to be held up until our previously scheduled 185th  student day.

The Gloucester Board of Health and our school nursing staff urgently remind all parents and children that it is imperative to follow proper protocols for personal protection for prevention, as well as to lower risk of transmission of illness to others. Please remember the importance of social and personal distancing and to avoid large gatherings. We appreciate your flexibility, support and understanding as we strive to meet the needs of our entire community at this difficult time.

I will be sending out a series of emails regarding specific information about suggested learning activities, lunch offerings, and field trip and event cancellations.

Best wishes,

Richard Safier

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